Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I’m probably in trouble but …

I probably just got myself in big trouble, but I made the following comment here, in relation to the APEPT model and so note the comment here (as a sort of obituary perhaps!)

I think the APEPT model is one of the more problematic things I have come across in the emerging church conversation. Read Clarke’s Serve the Church. It looks at the early church within its social setting. It argues that every one of Pauls’ letters has a slightly different take on leadership and that is because Paul is contextual. Leadership structure emerges from the mission context. To impose APEPT is therefore not true to the full range of the Biblical material; it is privileging one letter over the other letters. More problematic, it’s imposing a theoretical model that distorts the true contextual missionality that is the New Testament texts.

Posted by steve at 04:39 PM


  1. Hi Steve
    No link on the “here”

    Comment by lynne — July 20, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

  2. ooops. sorry. might be subconsious fear of being forge~d into persona-non-grata.

    Comment by steve — July 20, 2005 @ 5:00 pm

  3. Coming up next – emerging church death match!! See people argue theology and praxis TO THE DEATH! There will be ONLY ONE WINNER!!!

    Don’t miss it!!

    Comment by dan — July 20, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

  4. I am wondering why you think you may be ‘in big trouble’ Steve, and what you mean by ‘forge-d into persona non grata’?

    Can you tell me?

    Comment by hamo — July 20, 2005 @ 8:00 pm

  5. I’m with you Steve. What is problematic is trying to fit all our styles and models of leadership into what we perceive to a New Testament framework of ministry. The same thing happens when we try and fit people into an episcopal or ordination/lay system.

    Comment by Duncan — July 20, 2005 @ 11:03 pm

  6. I think the greatest difficulty with the APEPT model is similar to the model I’m in right now (i.e., the solo pastor of a church of 100+): too often, the people designated in the APEPT are given privileges to speak ex cathedra far beyond their actual gifting.

    In other words, if someone is designated as a prophet, everything they say is deemed to be prophetic. If someone is regognized as an apostle, then often all their actions are seen as apostolic.

    Which, as we know, isn’t the case.

    Comment by Matt — July 21, 2005 @ 5:52 am

  7. Guys, I suspect if one met an authentic prophet/apostle or whatever, presumably one would know! Its all about genuinely spiritual authority and inspirational forms of leadership. This is not just about a head trip after all. Nor is it the enclave of scholars who tend to objectivize things. It is the stuff of transformative movements! And I suspect many of you would not like to be part of genuine missional movements because of your reserve on so many things. How are we every going to change things if everyone is so touchy about basic biblical ministry?

    Comment by Alan — July 21, 2005 @ 6:23 pm

  8. Just thought I’d cross reference from a comment that I made on signposts related to this discussion.

    Guys (meant inclusively here) I have said here and elsewhere that it is *at least fivefold*. But because Ephesians is a letter that focuses primarily on biblical ecclesia, it is a great place to start. If we can get APEPT operative in any ecclesial expression we are well on our way to becoming missional church.

    Also, I tend to see these more as vocations or callings rather than gifts. The are in effect clusters of gifts used in furtherance of the function of each calling. If that makes sense.

    And Steve’s comment that APEPT is one of “more problematic things I have come across” only serves to indicate how far we have actually ventured from a full orbed missional ecclesiology. (Sorry mate, but making it a problematic is actually a significant part of the problem) No amount of nuanced readings can change the foundational nature of these gifts. It should not be problematic. It is written large accross the pages of the NT and all the phenomenal Jesus movements of history. So much so, that its actually hard to concieve of genuine transformational movement without it. Those who know me know that I am currently obsessed with the Chinese Underground Church. I can say categorically that this remarkable movement of movements could not operate without APEPT, and more specifically the apostolic ministry/influence.

    Comment by alan hirsch — July 21, 2005 @ 6:35 pm

  9. umm – why do you assume that the ephesians 4 model is about leaders/leadership? If we see what Hirsh & Frost call APEPT as a leadership structure, I might agree that it is a problematic thing. The text says that these roles are distributed as gifts “to each one of us” – as I understand it, it isn’t about leaders but about every member of the body. And it isn’t about how big or how small a portion of the role – anointing? responsibility? – Jesus chooses to distribute to any given member of the body either.
    I’d suggest that a significant part of the role of those who hold leadership positions within a given local church context should be to help each member of that community identify which of these gifts Jesus has given them, and to help them to grow in the exercising of that gift to the full potential God has put within them, so that the body is built up…

    Comment by Andrew Dowsett — July 23, 2005 @ 7:43 am

  10. it is a whole lot easier if we the members of the body would spend our time being led of the Holy Spirit and doing what He wants done here, today, in the earth, in our particular sphere of influence. The natural progression is of those with leadership potential per Eph. 4 would be recognized by what they are doing and would be set apart for the work they have been called to do. As in the book of Acts…someone with spiritual maturity and insight by the Holy Spirit looked at Paul during a prayer meeting and ordained the teacher Paul into his apostolic ministry. And i believe as each of us is involved in our community we shall see more of God’s power/anointing available for ministry to other believers and those not yet born-again.

    Comment by rich — July 29, 2005 @ 3:22 pm

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